A survey of hygienists qualifying from the Liverpool School of Dental Hygiene 1977-1998

Br Dent J. 2000 Feb 12;188(3):150-3. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.4800417.


Objectives: To analyse the working patterns of all those who qualified from the Liverpool School of Dental Hygiene over a 20-year period. To assess the proportion who give up practice, the degree of part-time work, career breaks, job satisfaction, availability of continuing professional education etc.

Method: A questionnaire sent to all 226 hygienists who qualified from the School between 1997 and 1998, whether still enrolled as dental hygienists or not.

Results: Responses were received from 83% of whom 89% were still working as hygienists, the majority in general practice. 46% had taken an employment break, mostly for maternity reasons but a significant number for other reasons. Around 80% expressed good job satisfaction. Although there is a high level of part-time work, especially after career breaks, few had experienced difficulty in finding employment. One third of respondents considered that the availability of continuing professional education was 'poor' or 'very poor'.

Conclusions: The great majority of hygienists enjoy good job satisfaction and work in more than one general dental practice. Comparisons suggest that they continue to work in their chosen career at least as much as female dentists do in theirs. The reasons for this are thought to be that hygienists tend to be recruited from the ranks of highly motivated, mature dental nurses and that the profession lends itself to part-time work which can be combined with family commitments. There are perceived deficiencies in the availability of continuing professional education, which may be remedied by the development of distance learning packages and Section 63 type courses designed specifically for them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dental Hygienists / education
  • Dental Hygienists / standards*
  • Dental Hygienists / statistics & numerical data
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Schools, Dental
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data